Playing Off of the Target Player

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on playing off of the target player.

Start with a target player at the top of the 18, a defender right behind him (and players prepared to take their place) a server 40 yards out and a line of attackers even with the server. The server has balls and there is a keeper in goal.



The server starts by playing a ball into the target player. The first player in the attacking line sprints forward into support.


As soon as the target player touches the ball the defender is live and it’s 2 v 1 to goal. In most cases the target player will 1 touch the ball back to his support and then they attack. It’s best for the target player to spin off after the touch.


If the defender goes with the ball, the receiving player will 1 touch the ball to the target player who then goes for the finish.


If the defender goes with the runner, the receiving player takes a touch and then finishes himself.


The offside rule is in effect for this activity so the runner should focus on really bending their run to stay in a good position.

As soon as the shot is hit, a new target player and defender comes on the field, the server plays a new ball and a new attacker provides support.

After players have had the opportunity to have a few turns in each role we add a second defender and a third defender. The easy thing to do is replace the server with another group of attackers and add a line of defenders between the two line of attackers.



The ball gets played in and it’s now 3 v 2. The target player has to lay the ball back for either runner and then they go to goal. The target player has to read the defender to make the appropriate decision.

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The key to these activities is once the ball is played into the target player they should be getting to goal as quickly as possible, this isn’t the time to slow play down and work the ball around. Get into the target player, provide support and get to goal.

Have a great day!


By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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